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hospitals, temporary hospitals set up all over town. and of course those people started dying and had to be buried. so the national cemeteries were established at alexandria virginia and up the old soldier's home in northwest washington. they planned to accommodate all of those who died in the washington area hospitals. what happened was that the war went on longer and was bloodier than anybody expected this of that we pretty soon filled up the graveyards, national cemeteries in alexandria and at the old soldier's home in washington and needed new burial space. so the quartermaster's office of the union army looked across the river and found this place,
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arlington and thought it would be a good place to begin burying people. arlington happened to be the home of robert e. lee, the confederate general. so, not only was it a convenient place to begin military burials from the symbol war. it was also thought to be a matter of justice, maybe even vindication if you want to call it that. the first military burials at arlington can of may, 1864, well into the civil war and the very first of the burials was private from 67 pennsylvania infantry named william. he was a farmer from a poor family who, and he came to search in the union army. unfortunately he end up in the hospital in washington. he got a case of german measles
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which killed many service members on both sides of the war. he developed peritonitis from his infection and he died in the washington hospital and was brought across the potomac river to arlington as the first military burial. things were so desperate at that time in the civil war there were so many people buying that there wasn't much time for a ceremony or ritual at arlington. they would bring people over for burial day after day after day and they went into the ground as william did with no flags flying, no bugles' playing, quite often not a chaplain to give a sendoff. so basically we are trying to keep up with the carnage from the civil war when arlington began. during the war, things were so desperate that there wasn't any
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time for tombstones. they had headboards made out of the plane or walnut, painted white with black lettering. those of course had to be maintained or they fell apart. so that in the years after the civil war mike we began to clean up and makes sense of things. someone came up with a design in the 1870's, the late 1870's, early 1800's for the white tombstone's we see at arlington today. uniform design. anyone who qualify for burial qualified for one of the tombstones. the earliest stones were like you see here that have the name, company, a native burial and
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shield. later the design was simplified just to include the name of the person, the date of birth and date of terri hail. that is the modern tombstone you see in other sections of the cemetery today. the first military burial, william kriseman, was typical in that like many soldiers who died in the civil war on both sides he wasn't killed by a bullet or a cannon ball, he was killed by a disease. most of the people -- more of the people who died in the civil war died from infections, dysentery, yellow fever, the measles, the mumps than bite from battle wounds most you see in this section of the cemetery are in that category william wesbury def may come 1864. arlington saturday was not established until a month later,
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june of 1864. it was officially designated as the national cemetery and it began to fill up very quickly. this part of the cemetery that we are in, section 727 was called the lower cemetery. as you can see it is at the edge of arlington. there is a road just outside of the cemetery. you can't see the mansion from this location and that is the way the officers who were living and working in the mansion during the war wanted it. they didn't want to see the terri hail coming in. they didn't want to be in a graveyard working in a graveyard. they wanted them out of sight and out of mind. the quartermaster general brigadier general montgomery max didn't like that idea. as a matter of fact, he didn't have much use for robert e. lee. they served together in the union army. max considered him a traitor and
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thought he should be hanged for his desertion of the union army and his leadership of the army of northern virginia. so, the next came to arlington on the day that it was officially begun as a cemetery, june 14, 1864. he came to this part of the cemetery, looked around and was upset there were no graves around the mansion so his next act was to go up the hill where we will go shortly and to begin to put burials right next to the mansion. he didn't want the lees to come back until the war was over so you will see his approach to the creation of the arlington cemetery. it up the hill and mrs. lees garden. >> so we are now up on the hill
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overlooking washington, d.c. at the lee mansion. this is the garden? >> yes, the highest point on the cemetery. this is the home of robert eletes, mary custis lead before the civil war. and at the height of the civil war in 1864 the first military burials were made in a cemetery. the lower cemetery, the hour side of the mansion. quartermaster general didn't think that the graves were close enough to the mansion so that he found officers who died in surface and have them buried here around mrs. lee's garden to make it more difficult for the lees to return to arlington after the war. >> so if we longley we see these tombstone's actually encircle the garden? >> yes. they don't go all the way around it but they form a border around
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part of the garden. i think there's something like at the end of the war something like 40 degrees of officers, and we don't know exactly what her thinking was, but i suspect he chose to bury officers here rather than privates and enlisted men because i would make it more difficult to remove them after the war was over because they were more prominent and better known. it was a strategic move on his part and proved effective because by the end of the war there were not only these but thousands of other graves at arlington and it made it difficult for the family to return. >> did the lee family attempt to return? >> they never attempted to return, but they wanted to get arlington back and they worked for years. robert e. lee after the war
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quietly met with lawyers in alexandria and discovered a way to get arlington back. mrs. lee, who was more vociferous about went to college after general lee blight and petitioned the commerce to give arlington back and basically her petition was booted out of congress. they thought it was a ridiculous idea. at that time radical republicans were in charge of congress, so they didn't get hurt a very good hearing. she died in 1870. her son, their eldest son went to congress, got voted down, then went to court to and by 1882 he won a famous case in the supreme court. a supreme court ruled arlington had been seized without just compensation during the civil war and gave arlington back to the lee family. it took awhile but by 1883, the
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lees have arlington back. of course the bad news for the lees is there were 16,000 tombs, such as a practical matter they couldn't come back to live here. so they settled with the government for fair market dalia. $150,000, 1100 acres of prime real estate and 16,000 tombs on the banks of the potomac river. the great irony is when custis leaves signed the estate over, the title over to the federal government, custis lee on one side assigning the title and all the other side was the secretary of the war, robert todd lincoln, the son of abraham lincoln, you had a son of lee and some of lincoln agreeing on something and i would say that that was the beginning of some hope that we could reunite to the north and south again. it took awhile, but that was the beginning of the reunion.
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>> so we are going to walk back here to the first tomb of the unknown soldiers? >> yes. one of the great traditions of arlington is honoring the unknown soldiers, the lost in the war. the first instance of that came just after the civil war when quartermaster general montgomery banks said recovery teams out into the battlefield and not washington lived in a 30-mile radius in washington to recover unknown soldiers from that war. they brought them here to this part of arlington. after the war these teams recovered the dead, the unknown from this pennsylvania, the other great battlefields, and megs had a huge spot and buried
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in a mass grave and 1866. 2,111 and known buried here at arlington. this is at the edge, the end of mrs. lee's garden, so this is another instance of megs not only taking the opportunity to honor the war data but also erect a barrier to the lees returning to arlington. you will see many unknowns in the civil war section of arlington, like these graves, gravestones here one after another, row after row, and that is significant because so many people in the civil war on both sides went to their graves without names. more than 42%, which was is bad enough to get killed in the war, but also to lose your identity
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for your family to have no trace left. what could be worse than that? we did learn from the civil war subsequent war we learned very hard to identify our service members as soon as the fighting was over. we sent specialty teams to take ideas and provide a name for the fallen warriors and give them a decent burial. but it took awhile. it took a few war to perfect. the rate of the unknown went to something like 10% in the next big war, the spanish-american war and than 3% became the standard in world war ii. world war one and world war to. and we've gotten so good at this particular part of the warfare that by the time that vietnam
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can along there was only a handful of unknowns at the end of that format. this is a headstone that says cornelia brown citizen. what is this section? >> this is a section for slaves of the arlington national cemetery. before there was a cemetery this was a working plantation owned by the robert e. lee family. and there were slaves living here, working here, dying here. when the civil war broke out many slaves, thousands and thousands of slaves came to washington, they began to trickle into washington from virginia and other slave states. searching for their freedoms and that became a flood wall with the emancipation proclamation of 1863. so, thousands and thousands of slaves came to washington.
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they lived here. they died here. the bite in great numbers in the early years after the emancipation proclamation because we were prepared for the flood of refugees coming here. they didn't have anyplace to live. they didn't have anyplace to eat. so the union army decided let's build a place for them at arlington. so they established a village here on the plantation. as many as 1500 sleeps came to live here in the spring of 1863 comer early 1864. and they stayed here one generation to the next generation to the next generation, three generations. the last former slave left friedman's village in 1900. >> and so that's why they are buried here amongst the soldiers but why they say citizen? >> yes. you know, it became a military
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cemetery, but there are also people who were not in the military that or citizens. they were civilians, and in a way to call a slave a former slave a civilian or and citizen with voter rights and rights of owning property is for that time one of the greatest honors you could bestow on them so that is here on the gravestones in this section of the arlington cemetery. and you can see him when and you can see it stretches on and on over this hill over the next one. there are thousands of slaves. in this part of arlington.
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>> are most people's price? >> they know there was leaves when there was a plantation but most people don't know friedman's village. there was a thriving black community in which the army built for former slaves here at arlington. and it lasted for quite a few years. they are the descendants of those people still living in the washington area. they come here and donner their ancestors. they remember them >> all of these tombstones and monuments here are more elaborate than we've seen before. what is the story of this section? >> this is section 1 of the cemetery. arlington began as a pauper's cemetery during the height of the civil war, 1864. after the war when we had time to think about and reflect upon what had happened, what we had gone through, we had time for more ceremonies come more and
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rituals and gradually won by one the officers from the civil war wanted to be buried here. it was a great honor to be buried here eventually after the smoke and blood of the civil war settled somewhat. this was the place the officers section in its day section 1, and remember this is the victorian period so they are basically no limits on on the design if you have the money and wanted to build an angel as your grave marker, even if he were a lieutenant you could have it be any size you wanted. so you see again at arlington it is a reflection of the times, the excessive ornamentation of the victorian era.
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you see it coming into play here. one gentleman, an artillery officer, union artillery officer loved his work so much he had a can then brought in as his grave marker and a was a working napoleon tannin and he is down the road here in section 1. his wife is under 40 eternities sleeping beside him psp mikey said the contrast here is a first lieutenant with this elaborate tomb and then this is a brigadier general? >> yes. you can see side-by-side a lieutenant would have a great tomb with the angel holding her roses and a great cross and then right beside a more discreet from a brigadier general so that you couldn't be here unless you were an officer but it didn't
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matter as far as the design and grander. this section also has the only civil war but critics blurs in this section of arlington remember back in the of the 19th beginning of the 20th century which of the exploring was done by the army and navy and just across the road here we have edolphus really, an arctic explorer, one of the earliest arctic explorers in the army signal corps expedition at the end of the 19th century. he went farther north than anybody had been at that time. it just on the road is the grave of john wesley powell, who explored the colorado river. he had one arm at the time. he lost his arm at shiloh in the civil war but he went on to be a great explorer and other great
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things. u.s. geological survey. in another part of arlington just over the hill or the arctic explorers. robert parry and his associate who claimed to reach the north pole in 1909 are here. so the point is arlington is more than just a military cemetery, it is a place for explorers, figures from history and many other things. >> we are on the hill overlooking this city to hear. what is this tomb on the mound overlooking the city? >> this is the city of la fond a french man who served in the american revolution. he stayed. he was commissioned to design the city of washington. so he came here and 1891 come 1892 when there was just across the river it looks very finished now with the buildings, the
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capitol, the washington monument, all of that. but when l'enfant came it was woods, creeks, swamps and out of that he envisioned a national capital for this new nation. he designed it. his design was accepted and adopted. you can look at this city today and see the city that l'enfant envisioned in the late 18th century. l'enfant dollied in 1825. his estate was worth less than $100. he was sort of a forgotten man. he was buried in a grave on the maryland farm. his grave wasn't marked by even a tombstone. there was a cedar tree planted to mark his grave. so the beginning of the 20th century, frederick olmsted, glenn brown and other designers,
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city designers, daniel burnham, had the idea of finding love what, honoring him properly, giving him the proper burial he never had, and recognizing the man who had designed the nation's capital. they did a year. they brought lot to this spot in 1909 and gave him this grave a little late mabey but better late than never. the way they have it arranged is you will often find the name of -- this is a u.s. air corps lieutenant. you will find the name of the person who was in the service on one side of the tomb, and on the other side his or her spouse's name so at arlington to rule
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this if you qualify for burial here for husband and wife can come here as well and in order to save space in the recent years, they have put people basically in the same tomb. they call it what bunk-style burial. there's great attention given now to save space with the way they buried her people still with respect but attention to efficiency of space. there's also a trend in recent years to encourage cremation for those who want it and has been built over the last few years a columbarium at the other end of section 60 where anyone who was honorably discharged from service is qualified for internment. it doesn't take much space.
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they are very aware of that. >> robert poole, this section 60 of arlington cemetery. can you explain what this is? >> we are in section 60 of the arlington national cemetery. this is one of the newer sections of arlington. the sections are numbered so this is one of the higher numbers, one of the newer sections and this is where the people who had been serving in iraq and afghanistan are buried and honored. unfortunately quite a few funerals for those people each week. >> you have attended some memorial services here in this area, haven't you? could you describe briefly what the scene is like? >> i have been too many funerals here the past years while was working on my book, and it is
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never easy when you see the young soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coming back from iraq and afghanistan were to be buried here. you see young families, young friends, you often see infants who are now without a father or a mother, and no matter how many times you see it, it is not easy to take. it is not easy to see. the most memorable part of this section is the section of arlington is the great care and dignity and honor of the comrades try and to give to the fallen comrades here come the fall when service members. as you will see there is greater emphasis on doing it right, giving it conrad great dignity and style and just to meet the
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point dispersion is remembered he or she died for a reason and we are here to honor that today. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ >> somebody that read your book -- what do you hope that they will take away from it? >> i hope they will take away from that a sense of what a special place arlington is and the american story. and how i got that way. because we tend to come here today and you look at it it looks finished, it looks complete. but it wasn't that way in the beginning. it evolved from one thing into
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one other thing into another thing. so why try to do in my book is to say how did they get to be the place, the national shrine we know it as today? what was it before? what was it before that? and so why try to in my book pollack the layers of wood arlington was and how it became what it is today. >> over 4 million people visit arlington national cemetery each year, and nearly 100 graveside services are conducted each week. to learn more, visit a lot of this book is by culture and how culture matters, and by that i mean how does where we are from and who our ancestors were make a difference in how we do our jobs and how good we are or what we choose to do for a living.
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and that is a -- taking that idea takes up the second half of the book and it is a very i think profound and sometimes difficult thing to wrestle with. so one of the exceed those of use in the book to illustrate this point of how much culture matters, is a plane crashes have a whole chapter on a plane crashes, and so but i felt i would do today is tell a story from that chapter. i will boreman you i am not going to tell the whole chapter. i am taking an excerpt out so i'm going to tell you makes a good deal of less sense than the version you will read in the book and it's also a good deals carrier than the version you read in the book. who in this room will be flying in a plane in the next month or so? [laughter] sorry to hear that. [laughter] but i think so it is scary but the most important thing about this plane crash that i want to
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talk about is that it is scary not because it is unusual. it is scary because it is typical is a very important thing to keep in mind. the crash are want to talk about is the ovianca which takes off from colombia, january 5th 1920 bound for the jfk airport in new york. as most of you know columbia is not that far from the united states. it's just on the other side of the caribbean sea. to get from there to columbia you cross the caribbean sea and the gulf and go up the east coast of the united states. but as it happens this was january and all kind of planes were delayed that might among them ovianca 052. here they were on a routine flight from columbia to new york. the captain of the plane was

Book TV
CSPAN January 1, 2010 9:45pm-10:20pm EST

Robert Poole Education. (2009) Robert Poole ('On Hallowed Ground') tours Arlington National Cemetery.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Arlington 42, Washington 11, Robert E. Lee 4, Mrs. Lee 3, United States 2, Columbia 2, Friedman 2, Pennsylvania 2, New York 2, Afghanistan 2, U.s. 2, Alexandria 2, Cornelia Brown 1, Dalia 1, William Wesbury 1, William Kriseman 1, Custis Lee 1, Custis 1, John Wesley Powell 1, New Nation 1
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